Rest easy Alabama fans, Nick Saban isn’t going anywhere.
With Mack Brown’s cloudy future in doubt in Austin, rumors about Saban jumping to the University of Texas and its Longhorn Network fueled riches ran rampant. While the Crimson Tide may be the stick that the rest of the nation currently measures itself up against, there is no doubt that Texas could offer Saban fertile recruiting ground and an eye-popping contract.
However, Texas fans will have to settle for a different future after Saban reportedly signed a contract extension for multiple years with Alabama. ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit was on the news in the early going:
This is such good news for Alabama supporters because of how efficiently and effectively Saban has built an absolute powerhouse in Tuscaloosa. Yes, the Crimson Tide will always be lauded for their accomplishments under Bear Bryant, but in the seven years before Saban arrived Alabama missed a bowl game entirely three times, lost an Independence Bowl, won an Independence Bowl, won a Cotton Bowl and lost a Music City Bowl.
That doesn’t exactly scream best in the nation.
However, Saban has won three of the past four BCS National Championship games and qualified for a Sugar Bowl since he took over. His program has become so dominant that finishing the 2013 regular season at No. 3 in the BCS standings with only one loss is actually considered a failure in many circles.
That crippling pressure to maintain such incredible success is one of the reasons some thought Saban may entertain the notion of leaving for Texas, but Chris Low was quick to shoot that down via ABC News:
But anybody who truly knows Saban knows that he puts far more pressure on himself than anybody on the periphery ever could. That's why the whole notion of the pressure at Alabama building to the point where it overwhelms Saban doesn't really fly.
Let's be honest here. There wouldn't be maddening pressure at Texas if the Longhorns were to fork over the ranch?
The only thing that could have realistically slowed Alabama’s momentum in the near future was the departure of Saban and this machinelike winning. Recruiting is the lifeblood of sustained success at the college level, and Saban has the magical touch on the trail.
Per 247Sports, Alabama had the No. 1 class in 2013, No. 1 class in 2012, No. 1 class in 2011, No. 5 class in 2010, No. 2 class in 2009 and No. 3 class in 2008. Oh, and the Crimson Tide currently have the No. 1 class in the early 2014 rankings.
Is it any wonder why Saban has Alabama among the nation’s best every single season?
This is the key to the contract extension from the Crimson Tide’s perspective. While Saban’s on-field and in-game coaching is certainly excellent, recruiting in the South is crucial to maintained success. The rest of the SEC, along with nationally dominant names like Urban Meyer and Ohio State and whoever ends up with the Texas job (to name a few), will also be sniffing around for star prospects.
Saban is in the fold for the foreseeable future, which means the highly regarded recruits will continue to flock to Tuscaloosa. With the playoffs around the corner, it won’t be as difficult for the Tide to have a chance at the championship (for example, they would almost assuredly be in the playoffs this season even with their late loss to Auburn).
All this means Alabama is set to be a nationally dominant program for years to come.
Follow and interact with Bleacher Report writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.